Saturday, July 30, 2011

New Glasses for LeDandy

Pince-nez, that is. I've been long overdue and I can tell that the time has come for a new prescription. After all, I am getting older .... and better.

Pictured above you can see the next candidate for lenses. It is a fingerpiece style pince-nez mounting given to me by Richard Johnson, my very good friend and colleague. This particular mounting is new old stock and in pristine condition. I'll be wearing silicone nose pads with them for added comfort and security.

The hard part with pince-nez, as you may have read, is finding an optician to make lenses and follow through with a fitting. I've found most opticians to be lazy and unmotivated even in this poor economy. The last optician I used for pince-nez has gone out of business. I picked out a new optician and will post her business if the lenses turn out as expected.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Adam's Story

[in his own words]
I can no longer remember what first drew me to the pince-nez. Being from Chicago, I've always admired the former Presidents Roosevelt and what they did for America. I think it was from their Wikipedia articles that I had discovered the name of their particular style of glasses. Occasionally, I would get the idea in my head to try and find a mounting, but always with little to no luck – after all, they are no longer made.

The past few years I have been living in Scotland for school and am quickly approaching the beginning of my last year. I study veterinary medicine at the Royal Dick, which means our last year is spent in the hospital doing our rotations: a professional work environment. Suddenly, the need to wear a shirt and tie means overhauling my wardrobe, which then meant reexamining how I present myself. As a life-long wearer of spectacles, this seemed like the perfect time to take the plunge and really try to find a pince-nez mounting for myself.

Eventually I found the Renaissance, which ended up being a great resource. Both Alan and Richard were incredibly helpful when answering my questions – whether they were about lenses or styles. With time, I managed to track down a few mountings that roughly fit me. After getting my eyes examined, a company based in the US made my lenses for me... and then it seemed that everything went wrong.

My first mounting broke on me during adjustments, which was tragic considering its quality. Thankfully I had the second mounting, which lasted for about two weeks when one of the springs failed on me. Turns out that once a pince-nez mounting breaks in almost any fashion, it's irreparable. And all my waiting to see if someone could fix the mountings would end up being a waste of time. So then, it was back to eBay.

Through perseverance I eventually got my hands on a few more mountings. The current fingerpiece I have been using has been with me for about three months now with no issues. With luck and care, I hope it will last. Plus, it's great hearing all the compliments I receive.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Soldiers and Pince-Nez

One of aims of Renaissance has always been to dispel the many myths concerning pince-nez: the biggest one being comfort and security.

Fascinating is the fact that the majority of soldiers during the 1880-1920 era who needed visual correction wore pince-nez eyeglasses. That it was the most popular and stylish eyewear made this a logical choice. Equally important is the fact that army officials recommended a pince-nez as the ideal choice because of the ease in wearing a gas mask over it. Spectacles proved to be less comfortable and rather cumbersome under masks or goggles.

Interesting too is the fact that military pilots particularly the German air aces were allowed to fly without perfect vision during the Great War (1914-1918) and most wore a rimless pince-nez without any "safety devices."

The fact that a pince-nez was so successful in both military and civilian circles was of course due to the great skill opticians had in fitting a pince-nez expertly to the individuals nose bridge. The end result was that the wearer had no concerns about stability because his pince-nez remained securely and very comfortably attached even during violent physical activity.

While the popularity of pince-nez for young people declined in the 1920's, particularly in the USA, it was not completely unusual for European soldiers and officers to wear a pince-nez (usually a rimless fingerpiece) even as late as World War 2 particularly in Russia and Germany!

[Note: top photo, young German officer, c. 1929; bottom photo, U.S. Army officer, c. 1917]

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Pince-Nez for a Job Interview?

It worked for me. I interviewed for my current job about six months ago and wore my pince-nez to every interview with them. At left is a photo from the day of one of the interviews. Did anyone notice them? Not until I discussed this eyewear as one of my hobbies.

On my other blog, LeDandy (of Northern California), I suggested in one post that readers consider bold attire for job interviews. However, I conceded that wearing pince-nez may be a bit too much even for me. Well, I broke my own rule.

The job market is horrible these days and it will probably get worse before it improves. Competition is unbelievable. You need to set yourself apart from the crowd and make a strong impression.

Will prospective employers object to this eyewear and draw unfavorable conclusions about you from it? Some will. Others won't. There are many factors to consider. The choice is up to you.

Oh yes, I broke another unwritten rule about neckwear for interviews. LeDandy wears only bow ties.


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